Documentary on One

Dads, Lads & Nicole

Would you go along at 60mph, your backside millimetres from the road surface? This 13-year old girl would: Nicole aims to be a F1 driver; but first, she has to win go-kart races. At the moment, she's Number Two.

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4.2/5 (30 ratings)

Dads, Lads & Nicole

Junior karting is heart-stoppingly scary. The go-karts travel at over 75mph, the drivers seats hover millimetres from the track. What's more, those drivers are children or young teenagers.

The paddock before the races is noisy and busy; mothers feeding babies, children on bikes, teenagers posing and, everywhere, under awnings, men and boys poring over engines, wheels, brakes, chassis.

Karting is not cheap - a car with engine can cost €4,000 - a set of tyres, €120 a day.

There are mostly fathers and sons ('Dads and lads') and it's not all about racing. Some of the fathers admit it's a way of staying in contact with their sons through the teenage years. One father, who lives in Meath and whose 8-year old son lives in Belfast, picks his son up and travels as far south as Cork and Galway every race weekend in the Summer - it's time together. Another father says the money is worth it because his son's success on the track gives him 'confidence' when things don't go so well in school.

Among the fathers and sons is Nicole. She's 13-years old and is one of the best drivers in the country. She's focussed before the races, but not as much as her father, John, who balances his competitive keenness with his need not to stress out his daughter.

The documentary follows Nicole and the other teenage drivers to the end of the 2012 season. Nicole is in contention with three other boys for top place. If she wins, there'll be more media coverage, more sponsorship, better races. But before she wins she has to contend with the weather, mechanical problems, the track and the other drivers.

Producer: Ronan Kelly

First broadcast: February 9th 2013 @6pm

'Documentary on One is the home of Irish radio documentaries and the largest library of documentary podcasts available anywhere in the world. We tell stories in sound, mostly Irish ones, and each documentary tells its own story'

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